Europe's largest listed car part maker Valeo has posted a 17.1% fall in full-year net profits, well short of guidance it gave at the nine-month point, according to Reuters.

The maker of clutches, windscreen wipers and parking gadgets reportedly said it made a net profit of €150 million in 2004, down from €181 million in 2003, hit by soaring raw material costs.

In October Valeo said full-year profit growth was likely to be in-line with the 5.5% increase seen in the first nine months, the news agency noted.

Nine analysts polled by Reuters had forecast on average net profit of €156.6 million, operating profit of €468 million and sales of €9.485 billion.

Operating profit fell 1.5% to €458 million, on sales up 2.2% to €9.439 billion, the report added.

Valeo reportedly said it expected raw material prices to remain high in the first half of 2005, and that it aimed to achieve organic sales growth "exceeding the reference automobile production levels" in 2005.